Architectural shingles vs three tab shingles

The main difference between Asphalt shingles and architectural shingles comes down to durability, versatility, and price.  Asphalt shingles are made from fiberglass layered between asphalt and ceramic covered granules. The result is a water-resistant coating that also deflects UV light. While this is the fundamental composition of asphalt shingles, there are many variations to consider.

Two of the most common varieties are architectural and three-tab shingles. If you are a new homeowner or renovating your roof on a budget, these are two options that may be worth your while. Here is a break down of the pros and cons of each shingle style.


Three-tab shingles are relatively thin as they are made up of a single layer of materials. Architectural shingles, however, have two asphalt shingles stripes laminated together. This layering creates a shingle that is better suited to hold up against the elements.

On average, the three-tab shingle comes with a warranty of 20, 25, or 30 years. Architectural shingles have minimum warranties of 30 years. In general, three-tab shingles have the life expectancy and can only handle winds up to 60 mph as opposed to its counterpart’s tolerance for 130 mph gusts. 

Durability Winner: Architectural Shingles


While a roof serves a practical purpose, it can also be an opportunity to add a personal touch on your property. That is why homeowners want to explore a diverse range of aesthetic options when it comes to roofing materials. The three-tab shingle doesn’t offer much flexibility in this regard. It comes in one shape and size and has a flat complexion.

However, the layered effect of the architectural shingle leaves room for diverse shapes and sizes. Homeowners can choose from different dimensional looks as well as colors and textures. The versatility of architectural shingles is an attractive feature of this option.

Versatility Winner: Architectural Shingles


The architectural shingles are the all-around superior product, which is why more homeowners are picking it over the three-tab option. When it comes to cost, architectural shingles typically runs $35 to $45 per bundle. Three-tab shingles cost an average of $25 to $30 per bundle.

On the surface, the architectural shingles are 40 to 50 percent more expensive. Still, it is a better investment, because the life expectancy of the three-tab shingles is, at best, half that of architectural shingles. Homeowners who spend less initially end up shelling out much more to install and replace three-tab options.


Price Winner: Architectural Shingles


Final Thoughts

Each type of shingle has distinct strengths and weaknesses. That said, homeowners should only consider the three-tab shingle if they are on a tight budget. Otherwise, the little extra money spent on architectural shingles is worth your while. Better yet, the customizable nature of architectural shingles gives you far more freedom to make aesthetic decisions for your exterior.

If you have questions about roofing materials, feel free to contact the experts at Saalfeld Roofing. As a locally owned and operated business, we have proudly served people in Omaha for more than seven decades. Learn more about our services by calling our representatives at (402) 430-1554 today.


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